April 6, 2010 / 4:22 PM / 10 years ago

FACTBOX - Copper, a modern industrial necessity

 April 6 (Reuters) - The world's biggest copper gathering is
under way this week with the CRU/CESCO conference in Chile, the
No. 1 producer of the red metal, which permeates our modern day
life to such a degree that economists view the metal as an
important indicator of the global economy's well-being.
 Copper is the best conductor of electricity after silver
and half the world's annual output of around 18.5 million
tonnes goes into electrical and mechanical applications, most
notably refrigerators, cellular phones, plumbing and electrical
wiring in homes, offices and apartments.
 As one of the oldest metals known to mankind, copper has a
history of use that is at least 10,000 years old.
 Worldwide copper use has more than doubled since 1970 to
nearly 24 million tonnes in 2007. Around 70 percent of demand
is met by mining and the remainder by recycling.
 Below are some useful facts about copper:
 USES
 * Building construction - 25 pct
 * Infrastructure (utilities) - 20 pct
 * Industrial equipment (power cables, big valves) - 10 pct
 * Transport - 10 pct
 * Other (largely air conditioning, refrigeration) - 35 pct
 2008-2010 WORLD PRODUCTION/USAGE
 (1,000 tonnes)               2008     2009     2010
 Mine production            15,388   15,835   16,891
 Refined production         18,232   18,301   19,675
 Copper usage               18,006   17,725   17,679
 Refined - Usage Balance       226      576    1,996
                                        Source: ICSG
 MINE PRODUCTION BY THE TOP 5 COMPANIES, 2008
 (Copper contained in concentrates and SXEW cathode)
 (Million tonnes)
 Codelco                 1.572
 Freeport McMoRan        1.543
 BHP Billiton            1.360
 Xstrata Copper          0.980
 Rio Tinto               0.689
 REFINED COPPER PRODUCTION BY THE TOP 5 COMPANIES, 2008
 (Million tonnes)
 Codelco                 1.776
 Freeport McMoRan        1.119
 Norddeutsche (Aurubis)  0.989
 Xstrata Copper          0.844
 Jiangxi Copper          0.703
 MAIN USERS BY REGION/COUNTRY (2008, in mln tonnes, ICSG)
 ASIA                   11.64
     China      (6.93)
     Japan      (1.62)
     India      (0.88)
     S.Korea    (0.76)
 EUROPE                  5.43
     W. Europe  (3.98)
     E. Europe  (1.45)
 AMERICAS                4.70
     North A.   (3.17)
     Latin A.   (1.53)
 REST OF WORLD           2.19
 MAIN PRODUCERS (2008, million tonnes, source ICSG)
 Mined copper
     Chile                   5.33
     United States           1.34*
     Peru                    1.27*
     China                   0.95
     Australia               0.88
     Russia                  0.71
     * (Peru is seen surpassing U.S. output in 2009)
 Refined copper
     China                   3.79
     Chile                   3.06
     Japan                   1.54
     U.S                     1.28
     Russia                  0.86
 PRICES
 * The price of copper has pulled off an astonishing bull
run over the past 15 months, more than doubling over the period
with analysts citing Chinese and fund buying as the main
drivers of the price rally.
 * After plunging to $2,817.25 a tonne amid the
deteriorating financial crisis in late December 2008 - its
lowest level in more than four years, the price of the red
metal CMCU3 surged above $8,000 a tonne by April 6.
 * If the price trend of copper remains on course it will
soon surpass its record high of $8,940 reached in July 2008.
 COPPER PRODUCTION/USAGE
 * From mining to a finished product, copper passes through
five stages -- mining, grinding, concentrating to remove wastes
and then is turned into pure copper cathode either by leaching
and electrowinning or smelting and electrolytic refining.
 * Cathodes of 99.9 percent purity are shipped as melting
stock. Cathodes are also cast into wire rods, billets, cakes or
ingots, either as pure copper or alloyed with other metals.
 For data on the world's copper output click on Reuters
Metal Production Database:
 here
 GRAPHICS
 * Global copper reserves: link.reuters.com/duj66j
 * World copper production: link.reuters.com/tah56j
 * Map: World copper production capacity, 2010
     link.reuters.com/dep95j
 * Map: Chile top copper mines:
     link.reuters.com/zad85j
 * 2010 world copper mine production forecast:
     link.reuters.com/zej53j
 * World copper prices and stocks:
     link.reuters.com/dux65j
* U.S. dollar decline increases miner cost pressure in
Chile, Canada, Australia: link.reuters.com/qyj56j
 (Compiled by Reese Ewing; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)
 (Additional reporting by Karen Norton, Rebekah Curtis)
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